For some, nationalism can feel like all they have. Others turn to a gang, revenge, or a twisted form of Islam. None of this, of course, remotely excuses invasions, gang violence, massacres or terrorism. But it may be a warning that we can't just flatten the world. We also have to find ways to fill it up.
We've had wars on drugs, on poverty, on cancer. We've had so many such wars that even our metaphors are now locked and loaded. Meanwhile, the guys with guns continue to wage their very real wars at home and abroad. Before we retire "war as metaphor," however, we should wage one last conflict: a war on guns.
Australia's gun buyback program reduced the country's firearms stock by about one-fifth, which is equivalent to the U.S. reducing its national stock by 40 million guns. And while some weapons came from households with multiple firearms, survey evidence suggests that the buyback nearly halved the share of Australian households with one or more firearms.